A HOSPITAL is helping the North-East become the most connected in the UK for electric vehicles with the installation of two new charging points.

The new 7kw charging points have been installed at Darlington Memorial Hospital as part of the North-East Charge Your Car project, which has helped install more than 850 charge points across the region.

Since its launch in 2010, the project has become the UK’s largest regional recharging network, making the North-East the most connected electric vehicle network in the UK.

In March the region made history as production of the ground-breaking Nissan Leaf electric car got underway at the company’s Sunderland plant, creating 560 jobs at the plant and 1,500 jobs at supply companies across the North-East.

The scheme has come under fire from opposition MPs warning it is at risk of being undermined by the Government, whose recharging plans would see drivers take “days to get from Newcastle to London”.

They believe the lack of national charging system, slow charging points and lack of incentives are some of the problems holding back the scheme.

However Josey Wardle, project manager at the North-East Charge Your Car project, said the project ensures motorists in the region are never too far away from a charging post.

She said: “The network now stretches from Berwick to Redcar and from South Tyneside to Hexham with a range of places in between.

“These new facilities at Darlington Memorial Hospital are an important part of the network as more people turn to electric vehicles.”

The hospital’s new 24-hour charge points were installed by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and will allow up to four electric cars to recharge at any one time, taking between three to four hours to fully recharge.

Bill Headley, the trust’s director of estates and facilities, said: “With the North-East leading the charge in the UK in terms of the development of electric vehicles, it is obviously important that there are enough facilities available to keep people moving in the region.

“We all have a part to play in protecting the environment and the installation of these car-charging points forms part of the Trust’s work in encouraging sustainability.”